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Published On: August 12th, 2023

WILLMAR, MN.- Following a rain delay which lasted just over an hour, the Willmar Stingers bats remained red hot in a 7-2 win against the Eau Claire Express on Friday.

The Stingers got things started on the very first pitch of the game as Andrew Sojka launched one over the right field wall.

A fielder’s choice in the fourth doubled the lead for the Stingers to build an early cushion against a playoff bound opponent.

Sojka went deep for a second time the following inning to get his season total to seven and improve the Stingers lead to 4-0.

Two batters later, his Cal-State Northridge teammate and MinnWest Technology Campus Player of the Game Kevin Fitzer joined the home run column with a solo shot to put the Stingers up by five.

On the mound, the Stingers got a stellar pitching performance from starter Sam Malec who tossed six innings while striking out eight batters.

The lone blemish on Malec’s day was a two-run homer from Marcus Cline to open the bottom of the seventh inning.

Hemponix Relief Pitcher of the Game Hunter Magnuson made sure that would be all for Eau Claire as he shut them down through the final three innings.

The Stingers weren’t done however as Fitzer joined Sojka by hitting his second home run of the night with a solo blast to tie him for a league leading 14 on the season.

Willmar will play its final game of the regular season on Saturday taking on the Express.

For more coverage of the Stingers, visit the West Central Tribune online at

The 2023 season is presented by J.D. Kreps Financial Group, empowering investors with powerful financial advice.

The Willmar Stingers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Now in its 30th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 24 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires, and front office staff, over 325 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (NYM), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and 2019/2021 Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and 2021 All-Star, MLB Gold Glove winner and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TEX). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. League games are viewable live at and on ESPN+. For more information, visit or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Stingers as your favorite team.